Hundreds of people were on hand for the 2012 Festival of Lights Celebration and Lighting Ceremony Saturday evening (Nov. 17) at Chillicothe's Simpson Park.

Mayor Chuck Haney welcomed the crowd, followed by City Administrator Ike Holland, who thanked everyone for their support, including the Chillicothe Parks Department, under the direction of Josh Norris.

Barb Burton introduced the Festival of Lights Committee, including Janet Barnhart, Marsha Beetsma, Kathy Gilliland, Mary Lou Wilhoit, and Jim Hinrichs, and expressed her thanks for the support of the community and the help of volunteers.

Emma Burk helped Santa with the countdown to the lighting.

Following the lighting, long lines formed to visit Santa and to take a horse-drawn sleigh ride around the park. Hot chocolate and apple cider were provided, courtesy of Piggly Wiggly. Christmas music was provided by MC Entertainment.

"The whole thing is, this is affordable for families," said Burton. "Donations are appreciated, and may be left in the donation box in the park. It does take a lot to do this every year."

The lights will be on each night through January 1st.